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Crazy for Ewe

And so it grows

The Bedouin Bag is moving steadily along - completing the sixth of seven welts and then it's just round and round for several more inches.    It's a quick knit because it's so simple.  I can grab it for a few minutes her and there, and those minutes add up fast.  It's a comfortable sort of project to have around when you're chatting or watching tv because it demands only the most minimal of attention - a perfect knitting group project. 

Minimal attention...yes...but no attention can get you into trouble.  Ask me how I know this. 

After today's staff meeting I was knitting along and got to a place where things didn't look right.  Thinking that I'd forgotten to knit one of the stitches together with its partner four rows down,  I tried to pick it up, but for some reason it still didn't look right.  After dorking with it for a few minutes I finally put on my glasses and realized that I hadn't finished round 13 and had picked it up and started knitting in the opposite direction.  Rats. 

Fortunately it was just about a round and a half, but grrr, do I ever hate going backwards. 

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Bedouin Bag

Zipping along on my Bedouin Bag-it's such an easy and relaxing knit. Worked a 13 round repeat last night so I'm nearly half finished.

So many people have fallen for this fantastic project that I have to order more handles! It's not too late to get on board-if you'd like to get started come by the shop this week and choose your color of Shepherd's Wool and we'll order you one of Jul's gorgeous handles. You can have it by the end of the week!

I cannot wait to finish mine-in fact, I've already picked a color for my next one. Since you can move the handles from bag to bag, I think I need a whole wardrobe of bags!!!

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Comfort food

Elizabeth, my DD has quickly found the goodness of French café food in Grenoble.  She sent me a picture of a croque-monsieur she had the other day, and I was jealous - it's one of my favorites.  Chef Loic at Café des Artistes in Leonardtown makes the best I've ever had.  Friday afternoons at the shop, we often order in lunch from the Café, and croque-monsier (avec frites, bien sûr) is a popular pick.  These decadent treats are so huge that two of us often share one - it is only lunch, after all.  I could probably eat one by myself, but then I wouldn't want dinner and my family would be, um, rather disappointed. 

I haven't had a croque in quite a while.  I've been good, ordering a house salad -- sometimes with a salmon fillet on top.  Loic's perfectly cooked salmon and delicious mustard vinaigrette keep it from feeling like you're being good, but I digress.  So I want a croque monsier at home - I want to share it with my family.   Tonight, I'm thinking it's perfect for an early pre-pro-bowl dinner.  Here's the recipe I'm going to use.  I have gruyère cheese in the fridge and am headed out for some Black Forest Ham.  Do you think fries would be over the top?  Yeah - might as well go for broke. 

Then I'm going to sit and knit my Bedouin Bag, and try not to think about calories and cholesterol.

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Is it just me?

Last week as I was writing the newsletter about finishing things, I thought maybe I would include my Springtime Bandit.  At that point I was on row 22 of the 34 of the edging rows, and decided I'd be finished too quickly for it to matter.

How wrong I was.

I worked merrily along until row 29.  My stitches didn't match up.  I reviewed the pattern and decided I could make it work, despite the uncompensated yarnover in row 27.   This must be part of how the shawl widens at the edge, I thought stupidly.  I worked several more of the nearly 300 stitch rows until I realized that things were just not going to work out.  I had screwed up somewhere.  The pattern had been a breeze thus far.  The chart was easy to follow and I could clearly read the pattern in my knitting.  Except for the center stitch, I hadn't even needed stitch markers to denote the pattern repeats.   Ah, the price of my hubris, I told Lynne that Tuesday - no stitch markers.  No wonder I got messed up. 

So I laboriously unknit several rows - did I mention that each row was about 300 stitches?  No, I had not used a lifeline - who needs lifelines in such an easy pattern?  Back to row 26 where I proceeded to place stitch markers between the pattern repeats.  Working row 27 again, I carefully counted stitches, worked the chart and counted again.  My stitches don't match up.  What the heck???  An error in the pattern?  On Ravelry, hundreds of people have posted about this pattern and no one has mentioned an error.  Okay.  I'm an idiot.  It's Thursday night at this point and I decided that I am just tired and I will just take it in to the shop Friday morning and look at it again in the clear light of day.

When I got to Leonardtown Friday, I saw Jenny's completed and beautifully blocked Springtime Bandit on display in the shop.  Now I felt like a super idiot.  She had started a week after I had.  I showed Ginni, and together we looked at the pattern, at my knitting, back at the pattern.  Counting.  Looking.  Then back at the pattern.  Then at Jenny's.  Then at mine.  There is definitely a problem.  A quick call to Jenny confirmed that there was an error in the pattern, and no, there was nothing about it on Ravelry.  Frustrated, but relieved not to be an idiot, I took a deep breath, made the changes to the chart, and knit most of the rest of the edging. 

I went to download a clean copy of the pattern and saw that one of the changes had been made already without mention of the change or any errata.  In case you are working this pattern, here's the fix I used for rows 27 and 29:

Row 27: there should be a ssk after the final yarnover in the beginning section just before the pattern repeat begins,  another ssk after the final yarnover at the end of the pattern repeat. 
Row 29: there should not be a yarnover at the end of the beginning section just before the pattern repeat begins, nor should there be a yarnover at the end of the pattern repeat.

There are other ways to correct the errors: Jenny used a double decrease in row 29, and that looks just fine as well.

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Lovin' my Slip Stitch Cowl

I finished up my Noro Slip Stitch Cowl Sunday afternoon after church and before pecan pie.  As you can see, the bound off side is curling up something fierce, so I decided to give it a nice long soak while I baked.

 Filled the laundry tub with a few inches of lukewarm water and about half a teaspoonful of Eucalan and layed it in there.  Noro Kureyon is a single ply so there's lots of air in the fiber, and I had to hold the cowl down in the water until it was wet enough to sink.  You can also tell that the fibers are getting saturated when there are no little bubbles around the fabric.


After a nice long soak - I kind of forgot about it with all the pie excitement - it was good and wet.   I didn't stretch it out, any because the fibers were already relaxed and very well behaved.  Also, despite my concerns that I was knitting too tightly, its final circumference  is 56" and its depth 10".  The pattern says it's to be 46" in circumference, but I am just fine with the extra length.  Here it is after a few hours on the board. 

I am totally in love with the pattern, but it's the colors that really blow me away.  I loved the palette shown in the original pattern, but I'm just thrilled at how these two really different colorways played off one another.  You can just see in the photo at right that one is a dark combination of blue, turquoise, and rust, while the other is a very light blend of reddish purple, lime green, and gold.

This was a fun, fun knit.  I can't wait to wear it, and now that it's done, I can start a new project without any guilt at all.  

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Finishing frenzy

Something about being stuck inside that makes me want to finish stuff.  Maybe it's knowing there's no distraction and no escape.  So yesterday and today I finished two very small projects that I should probably have finished weeks - maybe even months - ago.

First is Capucine.  This adorable little hat takes its name, I believe, from a gorgeous French actress.  C'est très chic, n'est-ce pas?

 It's a free pattern that takes one skein of Nadeshiko and about 5 minutes to knit. I'm in love with it because it's totally adorable, and it will keep my ears warm and not give me hat head, which is a major issue in the winter - especially for my daughters at college.  I hope they like it hat because I'm planning on knitting one for each of them.

Next is Saroyan.  This is such a lovely little wrap.  The leaf pattern has always appealed to me, and the yarn is just scrumptious.  Soft and matte, Manos Maxima works up so quickly in this pattern - size 10 needles, for pete's sake.  Still needs a good hard blocking but here it is.

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Started this Saroyan in September and it's kind of been my in-between project.  Took it out again last week and am really loving it.  The yarn is super soft, and the little leaf stitch pattern is fun to work.

You can make this with any size yarn, and you can make it as large or small as you like by continuing the increase section and/or lengthening the straight section.  I've made the increase section longer by two leaves and I'm working the straight section a bit longer as well.  This fiber is so fabulous, I want to use every speck.

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Chrysanthemum Cowl and fabric notes

As I was finishing the second sample of the Chrysanthemum Cowl I noticed that there might be some confusion about how it looks on the needles and what happens when you bind off. 

With all knitting, especially in the round, needle's circumference limits how much the fabric can stretch, so the fabric will grow substantially when you bind off - assuming you don't bind off too tightly! 

Here is the blue Chrysanthemum Cowl just prior to binding off.  It looks like it might be the size of just a generous turtleneck, doesn't it? 

Then after it's bound off, the fabric can expand into a much larger circumference with terrific drape.  Notice also that the width of the fabric has decreased.  On the needles, it was about 6 inches wide.  Off the needles, it's around 5 or 5 1/2 inches, depending on how much you stretch it in length. 

This length to width stretch aspect is really important to remember when you measure anything you're knitting - from a gauge swatch to a garment in progress.  We'll take a deeper look at what this means for you and your knitting later this week. 

Until then, enjoy your knitting your one-skein Chrysanthemum Cowl!

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Blocking Line Break

I got Line Break on the blocking board today.  A little bath in some warm water made it substantially more cooperative, and the blocking wires helped establish very smooth edges.  Honestly, you would hardly know it was the same piece of knitting. Post blocking, the fabric is so light that it feels like a whisper, and even though it's wool, I would wear it year round.

I'm getting a bit impatient with the drying time, but there's really no way to rush that part.  I am thrilled with the result on this project.  I love the color, but I especially love the shape. Since it's asymmetrical, it's all ready to swoop dramatically across your shoulder, or just wrap you up all cozy. 

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